Thursday, April 03, 2008

Nettle Soap with Avocado Butter

If you have sensitive skin or know someone who does, I have a great recipe for a soothing nettle soap. This soap has a gentle, creamy lather and is incredibly mild. You can leave it unscented for the most delicate skin.

To get the benefits of nettle, I make a strong tea with dried nettle leaf. Once the tea has cooled, I strain off the leaves and then chill the liquid*. I then use this liquid in place of water when I mix up my lye solution. The solution gives off a strong-but-not-unpleasant dried hay smell, but it fades quickly.

The soap recipe is simple and conditioning:

65% Avocado Oil
20% Avocado Butter
15% Coconut Oil

I superfat this soap at 8%.

If you don't care for nettle, you can easily substitute chamomile, green tea, or lavender when you brew your tea. Marshmallow leaf works well, too.

*never add caustic soda to warm or hot liquid! Make sure your tea is well-cooled before adding the lye.


dcyrill said...

Thanks for this post. I have a ton of stinging nettle herbs that I have never used. I may incorporate the tea from this in some of my other soaps.

gracefruit said...

You'll love it! Nettle is a wonderful cosmetic ingredient. I even use it in lip balms.

E x

in-between said...

Fantastic post! I have a friend with sensitive skin and this would do just the trick! And it would be a good way to experiment with nettle - I've never used it before.

gracefruit said...

Hi Mindi!

I think you'll really like this soap. Please let me know how you get on.


Bahama Soap Diva said...

I have just discovered your blog and links and I am loving it. I had ordered some nettle by mistake and had it sitting here.Now I have a use for it.

gracefruit said...

It's a great use for dried nettle. You can also infuse your dried nettle into oil and use it in balms and such. I make a lip balm with nettle and my customers really seem to love it.

Heather@Twin Birch said...

Hey Gracefruit! You are the winner of the Tingle Pedi-Kit from Twin Birch! Leave me a comment with your address and I'll send it on its way!
xxoo Heather

gracefruit said...

Oh my! You are kidding! :) Thank you, Heather. I am chuffed!

I'll pop over to your blog with my details.

LoveMichie said...

I think this is a great recipe. I made a 60% avocado soap recently maybe I'll try this next time! Whenever I'm trolling for eye candy (soaps) I always visit your blog!

Corrie. said...

Great recipe Elizabeth. Am loving soap with avocado and no palm, thanks to you!
You never cease to inspire :-)

gracefruit said...

Thank you so much!

Avocado is my favourite soapmaking oil. I don't think I could function without it.

dcyrill said...

Hi Elizabeth,

You were not kidding when you said the tea w/the lye would smell like hay. It smell like wet hay actually. I brewed the nettle leaves and marshmallow leaves. I superfatted with shea oil. I made a basic soap with rice bran oil versus olive oil. First time doing that so I will let you know how it turns out.

gracefruit said...

I'm sure your soap will be gorgeous! And that hay smell will fade completely away. Have you ever put lye into coffee? It's foul! The smell reminds me of a zoo.

Please let me know how your soap turns out!

E xx

dcyrill said...

Just to let you know I put a post on my blog with the soap. Let me know what you think.

In regards to the coffee with lye mixture, the smell of these herbs is awful enough. :)

Brenda said...

Hi Elizabeth, I found your Avocado soap recipe. It seemed to be just what I need for my mature skin. I used my crock pot to try your recipe. I only do HP soap with my crock pot. I am having trouble with the avocado soap recipe. After following closely, I made a 3 pound batch, poured into the mold after cooking but the soap never hardened up. It stayed mushy. After 2 days, I cut it up, remelted and added stearic acid to try and make it harder. No luck. The soap is still mushy. I can't figure out what I did wrong or if this soap does take a long time to harden. The first thing I noticed was after cooking, there was no lather from washing the pot. I used some batter on my hands, it was oily but no lather. Do you have any suggestions for me? Thanks in advance.

gracefruit said...

Hi Brenda,

I'm so sorry you had trouble with the recipe. The only thing I can think of is that the lye amount is too low. Could you post your exact measurements for me? Maybe we can work backward from there.

Brenda said...

I measured with ounces.

14 oz Avocado Oil
7 oz Avocado Butter
6 oz Coconut Oil
5 oz Castor Oil

4.10 Oz Lye
12.60 Water
2 1/2 Tablespoon Sodium Lactate

I rebated 2 days after cooking and added 2 tablespoons stearic acid.
It is still mushy. Now that I look at the recipe, I wonder if the problem is too much castor oil?
What would you suggest I do with the current batch of soap.

gracefruit said...

Hi Brenda,

I ran your recipe through my soapmaker program and noticed two things. They recommend 10.5 ounces of water, so it might be that your soap just needs more time to dry out.

Also, I noticed that the amount of castor you've used shouldn't affect the hardness of the soap that much. It wouldn't be the hardest bar ever, but it certainly shouldn't be mushy.

My guess is that it's the water amount. Maybe just give it more time to cure?

Kind regards,

perangh said...

Hi Elizabeth, looking forward to trying ur recipe.
Can u tell me how much dried nettle to use for maximum effect?